Save the Asian Vulture
An environmental disaster has decimated one of the most iconic birds in South Asia - the Asian vulture is teetering on the edge of extinction.
If we don't act now, these magnificent birds could be lost forever.
Incredibly, 99.9 per cent of white-backed vultures and 97 per cent of long and slender-billed vultures have been wiped out - a staggering 40 million birds.
The cause, we discovered in 2003, was widespread veterinary use of anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac in cattle, which subsequently entered the vultures' food chain.
As well as hitting Asia's ecosystem hard, it also had a devastating effect on local people - triggering health problems and crippling economies.
However, since 2006, diclofenac has been banned for veterinary use and a safe substitute found.
Now the RSPB has launched a vital breeding programme to re-establish colonies of the three Critically Endangered species.
With regular funding from concerned people like you, this will continue with the hope that, by 2025, at least 40 per cent of vulture numbers can be reinstated and stable colonies can once again help keep the environment, and local communities, safe and healthy.
Will you help us keep vultures soaring in the skies of south Asia?
Saving Asia’s vultures from extinction
The vulture breeding centre in Northern India demonstrate the ways in which they help save Asia's vultures.
By giving £4 a month, you'll be contributing to a secure future for Asian vultures and all of South Asia.
What we'll be doing
Back in the 1990s, Asian vultures - particularly the three now Critically Endangered species - were dying in vast numbers, but there was no obvious cause.
Scientific tests were carried out, but nothing was found that could explain the huge number of deaths and the speed with which the birds died.
But in 2003, there was a breakthrough. It was discovered that the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac - developed for human use - was being widely administered to cattle and entering the vultures' food chain when they performed their essential job of cleaning up animal carcasses.
In response, we helped forge partnership Saving Asia's Vultures from Extinction (SAVE), working with our BirdLife International Partners the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
When we achieved a ban on diclofenac in 2006, and a safe substitute was found, it felt like we'd really turned a corner.
Help us reverse one of the world's worst environmental disasters
As a matter of urgency, a programme was then created to re-establish Asian vulture numbers. Thankfully, there are signs this is possible. But it requires constant funding, meaning your help is desperately needed.
Your donations will help support the publicly-funded vulture breeding centres that have already been set up, but cost over £360,000 a year to run.
Please give a donation of £4 a month to ensure Asian vultures have a future
Thanks to regular donations, the RSPB and the BNHS are also working together with members of the local community to create 62-mile (100 km) Vulture Safe Zones where we can be confident that any contamination has been completely removed.
But this vital work can only be achieved with your kind donations.
So, please, give £4 a month and help us re-establish these incredible birds before it's too late.
Amazing Asian vultures
In this section
Vulture fact files
Vultures are an essential part of the ecosystem in South Asia. Discover why these birds are so special.
An introduction to SAVE
To make the work needed for vultures as effective and efficient as possible, we have established SAVE.
The problem of diclofenac
When vultures started disappearing a veterinary drug called diclofenac was found to be the main cause of their decline.
Vulture Safe Havens
Find out more information about the diclofenac-free Save Havens for vultures we are creating.